Why do my RAW files look different in IMatch than in my RAW Processor?

Started by Mario, June 20, 2014, 03:16:49 PM

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When IMatch imports a RAW file, it uses either the embedded preview image or the full RAW data - depending on what the installed WIC codec can extract and the Cache settings you use under Edit > Preferences > Cache in IMatch.

When you edit a RAW image in RAW processors like Adobe Lightroom, NX-D, Silkypix, DxO or others, you usually work in a non-destructive mode: The original RAW image is never modified. All changes you make to the image are only virtual, stored in a proprietary format somewhere in a database maintained by your RAW processor, or in a proprietary extension to the XMP metadata record.

Edits you make to the file are stored as instructions for your RAW processor software. These tell it how to process the RAW data in order to produce the image you see in that application. Changes like cropping, color corrections, retouching, filters etc. exist only 'in' your RAW processor. They are not applied to the physical RAW file on disk and cannot be 'seen' by other software.

Only when you export the RAW file, e.g., into a JPEG, PSD, DNG or TIFF file, your RAW processing software applies the virtual edit instructions and as a result produces a 'real' image file on disk. This file can then be used by other applications, including IMatch.

The fact that your edited RAW file exists only inside your RAW processing software until you export it, is true for almost all RAW processors. Keep that in mind if you plan to switch to another RAW processor or canceling your subscription payments for your current RAW processor. You cannot use your virtual edits in another product and you will have to start over.

How to deal with this problem in IMatch

There are basically two methods which allow you to see your edited RAW files in other software:

DNG Workflow

Many RAW processors can update the embedded preview image in DNG files. If you make changes in your RAW processor to a DNG file, it saves these changes somewhere, but also updates the embedded preview in the DNG. IMatch and other software can see the updated preview and render the image with your changes applied.

Visual Proyies

If you cannot or don't want to use DNG files, you can use visual proxies in IMatch.
If you export JPEG files from your RAW processor, and you configure a version rule in IMatch which links this JPEG file to the original RAW and make this version the visual proxy, IMatch uses the JPEG file to represent the RAW file. The RAW will look like the JPEG in the file window, the Quick View Panel, the Viewer and the Slide Show.
-- Mario
IMatch Developer
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